sunday scribblings - my shoes


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Live fast & wear good lookin' shoes: my buckle boots w/friends, circa 1986-ish.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, and I believe in this wholeheartedly. I often scan down to the feet in order to get a better read on someone. Are they a professional? A more creative type? A fashionista? A creature of comfort?

If I think back to the shoes I've owned in my life, they really do tell the story of me: who I've been at the time that I wore them, and how I've evolved as a person over the years, favourite pair by favourite pair...

When I first began walking, I was pidgeon-toed, and the doctor prescribed these special little shoes that had to be alternated daily, training my feet to straighten out. I don't remember these of course, but my mother certainly does. Apparently, they cost a pretty penny and it was no small sacrifice for my young mother to buy them for me. And laugh if you will at the mental image of an awkward little pidgeon-toed girl, but c'mon! It was a whole new world of mobility for me! I just needed a little help, from the shoes my mother bought for me, to learn how to do it right!

The first pair of (of non-correcting) shoes I actually remember owning and LOVING were my FLINTSTONE flip-flops. They were snazzy little numbers that I adored playing with as much as wearing: when you turned them one way, you saw one picture, then tilting them another way, another picture. Fred was on there for sure. Wilma and Dino too, I think. One fateful day however, I wore them on a family outing to Blue Mountain, and lost one whilst riding the chair-lift up, my feet swinging boisterously. I don't remember if we were able to retrieve the flip-flop, but I do remember the tears that came with the rueful knowledge that I had made such a silly error in judgement, and that I hadn't been sufficiently careful with something so special.

The next shoes I distinctly remember were my first pair of NIKE'S. I actually got them from an older friend who said they didn't fit her anymore. They were white (underneath all that dirt anyway) and had an orange swoosh. Truth be told, they didn't fit me at all. They were much too large - but I just tied the laces extra tight and hoped that they would pass as my own. You see, in our small town, very, very few had the illustrious Nike shoe, and I just NEEDED to possess them and have what so many others coveted. The following school year, in Grade 6, my mother must've taken pity and bought me new ones that were white-as-snow with a powder blue swoosh. Oh joy of joys! I wore them often -- even to Picture Day. Then again in Grade 7, after moving and upon starting at a brand new school, she bought me an exceptional, sporty baby blue pair with a dark blue swoosh. They just oozed COOL. Both pairs were just BEAUTIFUL in my opinion, and thanks to my generous Mom and the helpful clerks at the shoe stores, they fit me like a dream, making me feel like a million bucks.

Of course I could never forget the first pair of shoes that I intentionally picked to make a statement: my COUGAR boots! These were all the rage at my school. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE had these tan coloured leather boots with red lining and chunky souls. When you walked in the snow, you left a print behind that was supposed to resemble a cougar's. It was in 5th Grade when I got mine and I remember being at the store and specifically picking out a style that no-one else in my school had... dark brown instead of the usual tan. Nervy? Oh yes. Especially at that age when you MUST blend in. Oh, but I just wanted to be different. I wanted them to be noticed. It was no longer just enough to have a pair. I wanted everyone to look at MINE, and wish they had a pair like MINE.

After those, it was the classic PETER PAN boots. I don't think this was the official name of them mind you, but this is the nickname they had. You can spot them if you watch New Wave videos. (I actually think they were called Sand Boots if memory serves, though I am not sure of this). At any rate, they were black suede, with an ever so slight, pointed toe. They were ankle length, and had a turned-down cuff. It was the first pair of shoes I remember feeling really pretty in. I went out of my way to care for them, too; spaying them and cleaning them with a little brush when mud or rain dared to soil them. I debuted them (and me) on the first day of Grade 8 at another new school, and they completed my very hip, sophisticated look of Jordache jeans with a hot pink, off the shoulder mesh shirt, thank you.

Now... the highschool years! Ah, this is where my love for shoes really took hold. I became quite obsessed with footwear actually, and since I was making my own money via part-time jobs, I spent a good deal of it on building a to-die-for collection. It was at this time that I developed a love for skull-buckle boots, that took a good 5 minutes to put on or take off. They had to be laced first, then each of the 4 skull-buckles (x2 boots = 8!) needed to be fastened. I wore them all the time. They were the perfect companions to my black stockings, mini skirts and Skinny Puppy tour shirts. I secretly LOVED that clickity-clacking of the buckles that had everyone turning to look when I walked down the halls -- even though I looked bored and nonchalant, pretending to not know what all the fuss was about. I wore them so much that they began to fall apart, and even when they did, I went out and bought that exact style again. They were my trademark. What can I say? They told everyone who saw them that I was different from them, and that it really didn't matter to me if they thought they were weird or not.

When the 2nd pair of skull buckle boots began to show signs of wear, I discovered FLUEVOGS. At least 3 times a year, my friend and I would hit the Fluevog's shop on Queen West. The styles were outrageous as were the prices. I still to this day do not admit to exactly how much I spent on each pair. I got such a rush each time a new pair were obtained! Among my favourite Fluevog purchases (see if you can spot a theme): super-pointy black flats with a red crucifix on the toe (hey, I was a goth kid at this stage, if you haven't already guessed); super-pointy black flats with 3 thin straps across the front accented with tiny, round sliver buckles, and the creme-de-la-creme: a super-pointy pair of flats with one large silver buckle in the middle on the top. The jocks and the preps called them "witch shoes" when I walked by -- but only from a distance. These bad-girls actually had a steel piece inserted in the pointy-toe, that formed a raised, triangular tip. Oh how I loved the attention those shoes received! They told people that I was tough, and a force to be reckoned with. And from those bullying, spoiled, penny-loafer-wearing-preps -- I chose to wear the witch comments as a badge of honour. Each day when I wore them, it signified that I was ok with being on the outs with the in-crowd.

Throughout university, I must say I do not remember any other style of shoes but DOCS. I had black nubuck 10-holes for day and black patent-leather, pointed toe 10-holes for evenings (HA)! I suppose I was far too busy and too broke at this stage in my life to really care as much as I had in highschool. And boy, what a practical choice on that trip to Europe! Did they ever save my arches from the rigors of all that walking!

There of course have been countless pairs of shoes since then. Too many to recount here. Each pair is fairly different from the next -- maybe because there are more sides to my personality now, and I'm not so concerned with fitting into just one look. My current faves range from my tweed heels with the little rhinestone flowers (a girlie indulgence), to my super-pointy black NINE WEST boots (imagine my glee when super-pointy came back in!), to my white leather PUMA'S that are so comfortable and stylish (I get compliments whenever I wear them, and they provide relief from high heels), to my bevy of tried-tested-and-true Target flip-flops, in ever colour that $7.99 can buy. (I mean, it's not highschool anymore -- even a girl with a shoe fetish has to live by a budget!)

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6 Responses to “sunday scribblings - my shoes”

  1. Anonymous Paris Parfait 

    It's nice to hear about your adventures in various pairs of shoes. Flip flops are great, although if you don't wear them for awhile, the toe bit is extremely uncomfortable.

  2. Anonymous Tammy 

    It's very true how much our shoes show where we are in life. You made me think about my shoe history. Great job on being creative and thought provoking.

  3. Anonymous boliyou 

    Great story. Thanks for the peek at your life-in-shoes.

  4. Anonymous boliyou 

    Thanks for sharing your life-in-shoes. Great post!

  5. Anonymous lisrobbe 

    Great story. I will start to look at people and their shoes somewhat differently now.

  6. Anonymous Chelle 

    It's amazing how your thinking of shoes and mine differ so much. :o)

    Your's was an interesting and insightful post. Thank you for sharing "your memories."

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